Project Management for Knowledge Management Engagement

  • Kate Cain of Winston & Strawn LLP
  • Risa Schwartz of Cisco Systems, Inc.
  • Gabrielle Townsend of DuPont

There are five pieces to the project management and knowledge management puzzle:

  1. Process
  2. Documentation
  3. Value
  4. Communication
  5. Motivation

Some project management myths:

  • Project management adds time, not value
  • Project management = paperwork
  • Benefits of project management and knowledge management are obvious
  • If we build it, they will come

WestKM at Winston & Strawn LLP

Kate’s first case study was their WestKM implementation. She was handed the signed contract for WestKM by the technology partner and was told to go implement it. Her first question was what was the business goal for this new tool and what are they going to do with it.

They started with a light charter: (1) business goal, (2) business objectives, (3) decision makers and (4) contributors. The business goal needs to be the issue you are trying to address, not just installing a product. She also points out that it is important to create a common vocabulary.

You need to focus on the communication plan, which ended up taking over most of her charter.

  • Make sure who is going to support the product and get them involved in the communications.
  • Prepare for the roll-out training
  • Have a series of announcements (it takes multiple hits to get someone’s attention)
  • Prepare follow-up training and continuing education
  • Respond to email requests by using the tool and sending the results and how you did it with the tool
  • Establish a user group for follow up
  • Monitor use (or the lack there of) and ask non-users why they are not using it

Experience Database at Winston & Strawn LLP

Kate’s next case study was their experience database. She really focused on the key objectives. They wanted to set up a notification system where there was a notification when a transaction closed, followed up my a congratulations from the practice group head. Focus on harnessing the peer pressure.

Project management can add value by making the project focus on conquering business problems, creating a common vocabulary and keeping the team on the same page.

The Edge at DuPont

Gabrielle presented her case study on the EDGE, a knowledge based program bringing together DuPont legal, law firms, and patent agents. EDGE is focused on driving business value in the legal group by providing advanced collaboration and knowledge sharing capabilities.

They launched a full six sigma approach to improve collaboration among their inside attorneys and outside counsel. It was too cumbersome for people to work over a VPN. They wanted full document management capabilities. Security requirements was very important because they were pulling and giving so many people access to the system. They did justify the project on a return on investment.

They came up with a set of critical to quality factors:

  • Clear roles and responsibilities
  • Participation
  • Trusted sources of information
  • Ease of use of tools
  • Anytime, anywhere access
  • Awareness
  • Technical capabilities
  • Adaptability
  • DuPont ownership
  • Easy to support and manage
  • Robust document management capabilities
  • Secure

One element of EDGE is its strong governance board with representatives from various practice groups, led by a DuPont knowledge manager. The governance makes the policy and strategic decisions in design.

The vision for the knowledge management element of EDGE is to provide the architecture and framework to facilitate the creation, distribution and use of knowledge. They have a defined set of internal knowledge stewards. They also have a knowledge steward at each of the outside law firms.

The technology is built on Interwoven’s Worksite MP. It is a token based security system and password on the DuPont extranet. Team rooms on the EDGE are created ad hoc. The decision to create and the template run through the governance structure. Different team rooms will have different functionality.

Results of the EDGE: They have 75,000 documents in the system, with 1,169 users (458 external and 711 internal). They have 95 active team rooms with 5 to 7 team rooms being currently active.

Lessons learned:

  • Adoption. Involve users from the on-set. Governance board. Knowledge manager board. Identify champions and communicate with them.
  • Constant alignment. Stay aligned with the business needs. Align with corporate infrastructure.
  • Knowledge stewards. Periodic forums. Have incentives and recognition.
  • Day to day. Allow for expedited requests (be flexible on your timing). Concepts must be repeated. Listen to your team. make sure feedback flows up.
  • Create a formal business case
  • Have a proof of concept
  • Have two or more pilots

Risa

Risa took over next. You cannot build a KM tool without some project management. Cisco uses a separate project management group and uses a project lifecycle methodology:

  • Prepare
  • Plan
  • Design
  • Implement
  • Operate
  • Optimize

There was a need to integrate the newly formed KM Group into the other legal groups. KM integrated with the project management team and each took over steps in the methodology.

There was a need for transaction repositories for advanced analytical reporting. Each individual system had its own reporting limitations and you could pull data across the multiple systems. The solution was to build a database. They employed standard project management techniques in a non-standard fashion. She used KM staff to act as translators between stakeholders and the IT people. She thinks it is important to get the lawyers, IT staff and secretaries meeting together and getting all of their input.

At Cisco they built a new intranet. Solution 1 was to build it and hope they will come. The second solution was to build it with them, then they will come.

Lessons learned:

  • Marketing is crucial
  • Training and training the trainer. Different training for different user groups
  • Financial justification
  • Leverage expertise

Risa says: “knowledge management is don’t re-invent the wheel and know who to call.”

Kate says knowledge management is about “putting context around the documents and experience to deliver information to the attorneys and other users.”

Gabrielle says knowledge management is about “not re-inventing the wheel and delivering the right information, to the right person at the right time.”

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